Programmer Posture Exercises – Three Stretches for Beginners

If you are a programmer like me, you may spend long periods of time in the same seated, hunched or “flexed” position. Sometimes I find myself so engulfed in solving a problem that I look at the time to see I have spent two hours hunched over my keyboard, coding away. Spending long periods of time like this keeps your shoulders forward, chest muscles flexed, and your upper back muscles stretched in a way that is unnatural for humans. This habit can wreak havoc on your posture, creating slouched, rounded shoulders. Poor posture has more effects than just aesthetics and neck or back pain.
A Programmer who didn't do his programmer posture exercises
Research has shown that it effects:
• Mood / depression
• Stress
• Digestion
• Circulation
• Weight
• Breathing
• Overall health and risk of disease  Read more here.It can be difficult to keep an active lifestyle with a job that enables sitting for eight hours a day and maybe going to the gym just isn’t your thing. Luckily, there are some in-home exercises you can do in ten or 15 minutes that can go a long way. Keep in mind these will not fix all your posture issues. It can, however, help alleviate some of the damage caused by long hours at the desk.
Check out this list of our favorite programmer posture exercises:

1. Lying Down and Deep Breathing

This is likely the. It involves lying down, and breathing. Can’t get much easier than that! It is designed to stretch your diaphragm and help loosen the upper back, shoulders, and neck. To do this exercise you will need a flat, comfortable surface.

1. Lay down flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor and head relaxed.
2. Tuck your pelvis so your lower back is flat on the floor – you want as little space as possible between your lower back and the floor.
3. Keeping your throat and mouth open breathe in as deep as you can, filling your abdomen.
4. Exhale hard out of your mouth until you are completely out of breath (force the air out, you should hear yourself almost wheezing)
5. Repeat steps 1-4 two or three times
6. *For a more advanced version, place your hands on the floor above your head as far as you comfortably can

2. Wall Angels

Wall Angels, or scapular wall slides, are a good way to strengthen your back and fix rounded shoulders. This exercise is meant to flatten your shoulders, extend your vertebrae and work the muscles of your upper back. To do this exercise you need a flat wall to lean against.

Exercise 1:
1. Stand with your back flat against the wall
2. Bend your knees to about 20 degrees
3. Keep your lower back flat against the wall – avoid arching
4. Rest the back of your head against the wall and keep your eyes forward and level to the ground
5. Raise your arms to your side at a 90-degree angle to your body with your elbows bent and hands up. Your elbows and the back of your hands should be against the wall
6. Breathe in and slide your hands and elbows up the wall until you feel some tension, breath out and lower your arms back to 90 degrees.
7. Repeat this motion four to five times

Exercise 2:

1. Position yourself as you did in steps 1-4 above
2. Imagine a rod going through the center of your chest and treat this as a turning point.
3. While keeping your lower back flat against the wall, tilt your chest, upper back, and arms to one side as if you were rotating on the rod in your chest while sliding against the wall
4. Come back to center and tilt to the opposite side
5. Repeat this motion four to five times per side

3. Y Raises (“Superman Raises”)

Y Raises or “Superman Raises” strengthen your lower trapezius muscles. Your trapezius muscles pull your shoulders backward, which helps correct rounded shoulders. To do this exercise you need a flat surface to lie on.

1. Lay down on the floor, flat on your stomach
2. Place your arms above your head to create a ‘Y’ shape with your torso
3. Point your thumbs up
4. Breathe in, raise your arms off the floor and squeeze your shoulder blades together
5. Pause for a moment and release back down to the floor
6. Repeat this ten times for three sets
7. *Try to work toward strengthening your muscles to perform sets of 20 at a time

 

That’s it. Perform these programmer posture exercises every day or as many times a week as you can and you will start to notice more flexibility in your shoulders and upper back. Once again, these exercises are only meant to help alleviate posture damage and are not a complete solution to better posture. Good luck!

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